I spent the afternoon talking with a group of senior students at Luther Seminary about secularism and ministry. We're reading Charles Taylor's A Secular Age together and talking about how we got to be the sort of society we are, where it is just as likely that people don't believe in God as do. And I was making the argument that many critiques of Christianity held by those who reject faith are critiques I also hold, and the actual gap between our way of thinking faith and life is not so broad, aside from the fact that they are being critical outside and I'm being critical inside. Okay, that is true to some extent. But reading through the comments on blogs responding to the Pew survey showing church-going correlates with the highest support for torture makes me reel at how grossly Christianity is mis-understood, or at least what an in-credible version of this faith is out there. Come on, pastors and theologians! We've got so much work to do to speak wisely and clearly about this life-giving tradition. Here's how the post on The Atlantic's blog starts (note the title--ugh!):
Apr 30 2009, 2:29 pm
Pew: Church-Goers Like Torture More
They were told not to damage the grass of the earth or any green growth or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were allowed to torture them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torture was like the torture of a scorpion when it stings someone. -Revelation 9:4,5, NRSV
According to a new study from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, those who attend church at least weekly are more prone to say that torture is justifiable. Suffice it to say that, in the eyes of those who support the use of torture, Khalid Sheikh Muhammad and Abu Zubaydah do not have the seal of God on their foreheads.